New industry guidelines for safe film and high-end TV drama production

Screen Scotland welcomes the publication of new guidance designed to help restart Film and High-end TV production and support economic recovery.

Published by the British Film Commission (BFC), Working Safely During COVID-19 in Film and High-end TV Drama Production is central to work by the British Film Institute (BFI) led COVID-19 Task Force, of which Screen Scotland is part, on screen sector recovery initiatives.

The Guidance has been developed to help the physical production industry to protect crew and cast by adopting a safe working environment and practices in light of COVID-19 related risks; and to be able to factor in to their current health and safety assessments how changes can be made in order to achieve this.

It includes considerations for filmmakers at every level of budget, and is intended to be scalable, allowing each production to apply the guidance to their specific project’s needs.

Commenting, Isabel DavisScreen Scotland’s Executive Director said: “Scotland’s film and tv sector is looking forward to getting safely back into production once Scottish Government advice suggests it is safe to do so.

“Alongside newly published protocols for the Visual Effects (VFX) and Post-Production community, and for Broadcasters, today’s publication is another important step towards ensuring that everyone working across the sector, including our fantastic crews, facilities providers and studio operators can confidently look ahead to returning to doing what they do best - making and facilitating world class content - when changes to restrictions allow.”

Adrian Wootton OBEChief Executive of the British Film Commission, said: “The British Film Commission's Working Safely During COVID-19 in Film and High-end TV Drama Production guidance was produced in collaboration with UK-wide industry and colleagues. With its extensive and experienced crew base, breath-taking locations and expanding studio infrastructure, Scotland is a major draw for film and high-end TV. The BFC is delighted to be working closely with Screen Scotland to get productions up and running safely again.”

The full announcement and access to the Guidelines can be found on the British Film Commission website.

Notes to editors

The BFI COVID-19 Screen Task Force, of which Screen Scotland is a part, is looking specifically at recovery plans for independent film, the exhibition sector and for broadcast. BFI and partners will provide updates on all these areas over the coming days, weeks and months.

UK Screen Alliance COVID-19 Guidance for safe working for the Visual Effects (VFX) and Post-Production community are available at ukscreenalliance.co.uk

The Broadcast and TV Production Guidance: Managing the risk of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in production making can be accessed on the BBC website.

Scotland is currently in Phase 1 of easing lock down restrictions. Current Scottish Government guidance makes clear that all non-essential business premises should be closed until there is more clarity on how operations can be undertaken safely and in a way that is fully compliant with physical distancing. More guidance for business can be found at www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/

This Scottish Government guidance provides further help to businesses to determine what constitutes ‘essential’ work that may be able to continue. The advice within the link, makes clear that all non-essential business premises should close unless and until there is more clarity how operations can be undertaken safely and in a way that is fully compliant with physical distancing. The guidance advises that all business premises, sites and attractions not required by law to close should close unless specified as an exemption in the guidance. Further detailed health protection and infection prevention and control advice can be found in this COVID-19-guidance for non-healthcare settings.

Scotland’s Film and Television sector is enjoying significant growth:

  • Over the past decade, Scotland’s film and tv industry has seen sustained growth, which has led to a doubling of investment from the Scottish Government and the creation of Screen Scotland in 2018. In the past year alone, film and High-End TV productions shot in Scotland include 1917, Succession, Deadwater Fell, Belgravia, Eurovision and The Nest, alongside the globally successful Outlander, which is due to resume production of series 6 at Wardpark Studios.
  • Scotland’s VFX and Post-Production companies have also grown rapidly in recent years with companies like Blazing Griffin and Axis Animation establishing themselves as industry leaders.
  • The growth in production in Scotland has also led to an increase in training opportunities for new entrants to the industry and Screen Scotland has supported programmes including: Screen NETs, the Outlander Trainee Scheme and PACT Indie Diversity Trainee Scheme.
  • In March this year, Bob Last and Jason Connery became operators of the Bath Road studio in Leith, further adding to Scotland’s studio infrastructure and enhancing Scotland’s offer to incoming productions.

Screen Scotland is the dedicated partnership for screen in Scotland. Sitting within Creative Scotland, it is a partnership with Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Funding Council, working in close collaboration with the sector to ensure its success. With funding from Scottish Government and The National Lottery, Screen Scotland is driving the cultural, social and economic development of all aspects of the sector in Scotland, through enhanced funding, services and support.

Media Contact

Eilidh Walker
Media Relations and PR Officer- Screen
M: +447545 402 064
Eilidh.Walker@creativescotland.com